Political Science 3480, Fall 2012
12:30-1:45, Monday & Wednesday, 410 SSB
Instructor: Dave Robertson, 801 Tower
Monday & Wednesday, 11-11:30; Thursday 9:00-Noon
and I will arrange other times to fit your schedule.
Phone 516-5855; Fax 516-5268, e-mail DaveRobertson@umsl.edu
What Is The Course About? / How To Get A Good Grade / Exams / Books / Participation / The Paper
Detailed Course Schedule / Environmental Politics Websites / Critical Thinking Skills / Environmental Politics Bibliography
1. What is the Course About? Our environment provides the beauty that ennobles us and the resources that enrich us. The way we govern our land, water and air exposes our deepest ideals, our deepest conflicts, and the deepest secrets of politics and government.
This course has two goals. Our first goal is to understand the most important environmental controversies, primarily in the United States, and way governments have responded to environmental problems. Topics include water and air pollution, population growth, energy, global warming, solid and hazardous waste, endangered species, and international environmental cooperation. Our second goal is to build analytical and problem-solving skills. Political science is a discipline that analyzes the way that groups of people work out problems when they disagree about values and are uncertain about facts. Environmental issues offer a great way to explore the way that the United States engages in this kind of problem solving. Environmental problems involve ideological, partisan, class, ethnic, and gender conflicts. They also involve great uncertainty about causes, effects, and risk. If you understand environmental problem solving in the United States, then, you will have a better understanding of solving other kinds of problems.
By the end of the course, then, you should have (1) mastered a body of basic information about environment issues and policies, and (2) a better command of the problem-solving skills used to make public policy. To measure your achievement, the course includes extensive class discussion, three examinations, quizzes, and a final paper.
This course does not require that you have a background in biological or other sciences.
2. Our Contract. By enrolling in this course, you and I have agreed to a contract with each other. l'll work hard to be prepared, enthusiastic, fair and respectful of every student and their opinions. I'll be accessible and try my best to return graded materials after no more than a week. By enrolling in the class, you've agreed to (1) attend every class, (2) to participate by asking questions and joining in class discussions, and (3) reading the assigned material and completing assignments on time. Of all the consumer purchases you make, don't let your University of Missouri education be the one purchase where you expect less for your money.
Participation: 10% of the final grade
Quizzes: 10% of
the final grade
Exam 1: 15% of the final grade
Exam 2: 15% of the final grade
Exam 3: 20% of the final grade
Paper proposal: 5% of the final grade
Paper Outline/Bibl.: 5% of the final grade
Paper: 20% of the final grade
NOTE: You are not are NOT competing with other students for a grade. There is no curve in this course. Each student can get an A, or can get a D. It's up to you.
4. Exams. There will be three exams (September 26 in class, October 29 in class, and December 12 in our classroom at 10:00 am). Each of the exams will consist of three parts: 20 true / false questions worth 2 points each, 2 identification questions worth 10 points each, and an essay worth 40 points. The final exam will include an additional essay question.
Eathorne, Richard, ed. 2012. Annual Editions: Environment 12/13. 31st edition. New York: McGraw-Hill. Paperback. ISBN: 978-0-07-351561-8
Easton, Thomas A. ed. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Environmental Issues, 15th edition. Paperback. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-07-351451-2.
Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People (any edition - available used and in many public libraries)
Smith, Zachary, The Environmental Policy Paradox, 6th
ed. Paperback. Boston: Pearson, 2012.
6. Participation. You must participate in this course actively in order for it to work well. You must prepare for and attend class, and you must contribute thoughtfully to discussion. To ensure fairness in allocating this portion of the grade, sign-up sheets will be circulated during some of the classes. If we invite a guest speaker, you can be certain that your absence will reduce your grade.
Your reading assignments are listed on the attached class schedule. You are expected to read the material before coming to class, and you are expected to be prepared to discuss the reading material in class. You may be asked to discuss a question regarding the reading during the class for which the reading is assigned. You will be assigned responsibility for some of the specific debates in the Taking Sides book. You are expected and should plan to participate in class for the trial of Dr. Stockmann (September 10) and the Mediterranean exercise (November 26 and 8).
I strongly encourage you to ask questions about environmental policy and public policy. I strongly encourage you to ask questions about the day's readings and lecture.
7. Environmental Policy Background Memo. You will write a 12-15 page environmental policy background memo for the class. The paper requires you to provide information to a presidential campaign about an environmental policy issue of your choice. This assignment aims to encourage you to use the course concepts to analyze the environmental problem and policy response of your choice. The paper is due no later than Monday December 3. Students are expected to hand in a 1-2 paragraph written proposal for the paper on Wednesday, September 19 and a detailed paper outline with a bibliography of at least 5 sources on Wednesday, October 24. The proposal and the outline each are worth 5% of the paper grade. (Be sure to read item 8 below).
LATE PAPERS lose 1 point for every day that ends in the letter "y".
8. Quizzes. There will be six short quizzes in the class: August 29, September 10, October 3, October 17, November 7, and November 26. These quizzes will cover the readings due for that date class and nothing else; the last quiz will cover information you will gather on the nation you are assigned for the Mediterranean exercise.
9. Current Events. Pay closer attention to environmental policy developments this semester. You can do this by reading the St. Louis Post-Dispatch national news section more closely, and by scanning the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal are among the newspapers available daily. The daily St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the New York Times, and USA Today are available free to students at several locations on campus. The New York Times Environment website, MSNBC Environment webpage, and the Environmental New Network have very good coverage of environmental issues. See also the Environmental Politics Links on the course website. The Monkey Cage / Environmental Politics site has very good coverage of the political science work on environmental politics. Google news includes articles from many newspapers around the nation and the world. The Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report and the National Journal are weekly publications available in the reference area, and they are outstanding sources for national policy developments.
10. Plagiarism. Plagiarism means taking the written ideas of someone else and presenting them in your writing as if they were your ideas, without giving the author credit. Plagiarism (a word which comes from the Latin word for kidnapping) is deceitful and dishonest. Violations that have occurred frequently in the past include not using quotation marks for direct quotes and not giving citations when using someone else's ideas; using long strings of quotations, even when properly attributed, does not constitute a paper of your own.
Plagiarism in written work for this class is unacceptable. The University's Student Conduct Code classifies plagiarism as a form of academic dishonesty. Depending on the severity of the plagiarism, punishment can include receiving no credit for the assignment, failing the course and referral for university disciplinary action.
10. Other Stuff. When I return your exam, please check to make sure that I have computed your grade correctly. Please ask questions! Please be in your seat by the time class begins. Please do not hold private conversations during class. If you do not understand lecture, if you have further questions about lecture, please don't hesitate to interrupt and ask your question.
August 20 (Monday) Introduction: The Stakes
August 22 (Wednesday) The Dominant Social Paradigm
Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 1-18
Annual Editions, Preface, Numbers 35-37, pages iv-v, 189-201
August 27 (Monday) Americans and their Environment
READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 18-38
Annual Editions, Numbers 2, 35, pages 12-17, 189-193
August 29 (Wednesday) What is Environmental Protection Worth?
Taking Sides, Numbers 2 & 3, pages 21-64
Annual Editions, Numbers 24, 26, 33, pages 123-128, 132-137, 181-186
September 3 (Monday) Labor Day - Class does not meet
September 5 (Wednesday) Critics of the Dominant Social Paradigm
READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 44-57
Annual Editions, Number 7, pages 40-46
Taking Sides, Number 1, pages 1-20
September 10 (Monday) The Trial of Dr. Stockmann
READ: Ibsen, An Enemy of the People
September 12 (Wednesday) The Puzzle of American Politics
READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 59-69
September 17 (Monday) The Puzzle of American Government
READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 69-84;
Annual Editions 32, 38, pages 165-180, 202-211
September 19 (Wednesday) How Does the United States Govern Land?
READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 258-274
Annual Editions 6, 25, pages 36-39, 129-131
PAPER PROPOSAL DUE (1-2 paragraphs)
September 24 (Monday) How Does the United States Govern Land?
Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 248-258
Taking Sides, Number 4, pages 65-84
September 26 (Wednesday) EXAM 1 - Study Guide for Exam 1
October 1 (Monday) How Does the United States Govern Water?
READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 143-163
October 3 (Wednesday) How Does the United States Govern Water?
READ: Annual Editions, Numbers 13-15, pages 70-87
Taking Sides, Number 8-9, pages 148-178
October 8 (Monday) How Does the United States Govern Energy?
READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 168-186
October 10 (Wednesday) How Does the United States Govern Energy?
READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 186-200
Annual Editions, Numbers 30-31, pages 156-161
October 15 (Monday) How Does the United States Govern Energy?
READ: Taking Sides, Numbers 10-11, pages 179-221;
Annual Editions, Numbers 27-29, pages 138-155
October 17 (Wednesday) How Does the United States Govern Nuclear Power and Waste?
READ: Taking Sides, Numbers 12, 19, pages 222-240, 343-356
Annual Editions, Number 16, pages 137-146
October 22 (Monday) How Does the United States Govern Hazardous & Solid Waste?
READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 213-240
Taking Sides, Numbers 18, pages 327-342
Annual Editions, Number 34, pages 186-188
October 24 (Wednesday) How Does the United States Govern Hazardous & Solid Waste?
READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 198-214
Taking Sides, Numbers 16-17, pages 293-326
PAPER OUTLINE & BIBLIOGRAPHY DUE
October 29 (Monday) EXAM 2 - Study Guide for Exam 2
October 31 (Wednesday) How Does the United States Govern the Air?
READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 98-106
November 5 (Monday) How Does the United States Govern the Air?
READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 106-126
November 7 (Wednesday) Global Warming: What Should the U.S. Do?
READ: Annual Editions,
Numbers 16, 18-19, pages 91-93, 96-105
Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 126-132, 289-293
Taking Sides, Numbers 6-7, pages 110-147
November 12 (Monday) How Does the World Manage International Problems?
READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 293-300
Annual Editions, Numbers 3, 5, 17, pages 18-22, 31-35, 94-95
November 14 (Wednesday) How Does the World Manage International Problems?
READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 304-322
Annual Editions Numbers 20-23, pages 106-119
Taking Sides, Number 14, pages 257-273
November 19 & 21: Thanksgiving Break
November 26 (Monday) The Mediterranean 1 HANDOUT
November 28 (Wednesday) The Mediterranean 2 HANDOUT
December 3 (Monday) Population & Food
READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 282-289
Taking Sides, Numbers 13, 15, pages 241-256, 274-292
Annual Editions Numbers 1, 9-12, pages 3-11, 52-69
December 5 (Wednesday) The Future
READ: Smith, The Environmental Policy Paradox, pages 325-327
Annual Editions Numbers 4, 8, 39 pages 23-27, 47-51, 212-21
December 12 (Wednesday) FINAL EXAM, 10:00-12:00 - Study Guide for Final Exam
Environmental New Service (ENS)
/ New York
Times Environment News / MSNBC Environment /
The National Library for the Environment / Earth Policy Institute
National Council for Science and the Environment / The Daily Planet
Florida Center for Environmental Studies
The President /
The Federal Judicial System
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
U.S. Department of Energy / U.S. DOE Energy Topics A-Z
State and local government / Council of State Governments Environmental Policy / Interstate Compacts
League of Conservation Voters
/ Missouri Votes
Sierra Club / Sierra Club - Ozark Chapter
/ Natural Resources Defense Council / National Audubon Society / Audubon Society-St. Louis
/ National Wildlife Federation / Izaak Walton League / Environmental Defense Fund
/ World Wildlife Federation
/ Missouri Coalition for the Environment / American Rivers
Wilderness Society /Greenpeace /Resources for the Future
Nature Conservancy / the Trust for Public Land
/ Sustainable St. Louis / Trailnet / Greenway Network
Friends of the Earth / Earth First! / Sea Shepards
U.S. Chamber of Commerce /
National Association of Manufacturers
National Federation of Independent Business
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers /
American Waterways Operators /
American Farm Bureau / National Corn Growers Association /
US EPA /
New York Times /
Presidential Climate Action Project
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
IPCC 2007 Report: The Physical Science Basis / Mitigation / Policy-Makers' Summaries: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities
American Petroleum Institute / Peabody Energy / Nuclear Energy Institute /
MIT Report on the Future of Coal
Platts Energy News / Edison Electric Institute /
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Superfund / EPA Oil Spill program /
Missouri DNR Hazardous Waste Program / Superfund, RCRA, and other environmentally sensitive sites in St. Louis
President's Council on Sustainable Development - Final Report
EPA's Community-Based Approaches site
Northwest Environment Watch / National Geographic's Smart Suburb / Sierra Club Sprawl site / Sprawl City
Smart Growth Online
Sustainable St. Louis / Suburban Sprawl in St. Louis / Confluence Greenway
U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation Systems
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program
Defenders of Wildlife / WildAid / Center for Biological Diversity
You will write an environmental policy background memo for a coordinator of environmental and energy issues for one of the two major presidential campaigns. It will be 13-15 pages (typed).
Choose an environmental policy issue, and provide an analysis of the issue for the Senator (it can be a real Senator, or a person you invent). You need to provide OBJECTIVE and specific answers to the following questions:
· Why should this issue be on the national agenda? How many people does it affect, and how does it affect them?
· What are the key things to know about past efforts to deal with this issue?
· What are the key choices and alternatives in addressing this issue, and what are their consequences? Not acting at all is an alternative.
· Who are the key participants in this issue? Be sure to address key environmental groups, businesses, and other interests. How powerful are these interests? How will they react to the different alternatives?
· Describe the political costs and benefits of different alternatives.
· What is the best alternative course of action in the future? Explain and justify thoroughly.
Grading criteria include: (1) the degree to which you put effort into the paper; (2) the degree to which you use specific facts and figures in your analysis; (3) the fairness, objectivity, and recognition of all points of view demonstrated in the paper; (4) the quality of the writing and organization of the paper; (5) the quality and diversity of the sources; (6) the persuasiveness of the your argument for the proposed improvement in the situation.
An "A" paper will be clear, concise, and specific. It will cite at least 8 sources (of which 1 should be from class readings, 2 from outside research articles, and 2 from outside books).
Regrettably, late papers will lose 1 point a day (as indicated in the syllabus).
Paper grades will be reduced if the papers do not cite their evidence in the body of the paper and at the end of the paper. Your introduction (1 paragraph maximum) should specifically summarize your argument, your evidence, and your conclusion. Your paper's introduction should be the last thing you write before you submit the paper. The conclusion also should summarize your argument and findings.
Citations must include the author's full name, the date of the piece, and a full reference to it. In the body of your paper, cite the author's last name and the date (and page number, if appropriate) of the piece as follows: (Vaughn, 2007: 103). At the end of your paper, append a bibliography in the following form (for articles, books, and chapters, respectively; note that these are in alphabetical order):
Crouch, Elisa. 2004. “St. Peters board approves bonds for controversial levee.” St. Louis Post Dispatch. August 14, 2004: 21.
Parker, Mario. 2012. "Twenty Five U.S. Senators Ask EPA to Adjust Ethanol Mandate." August 7. Bloomberg BusinessWeek website.
Smith, Zachary. 2012. The Environmental Policy Paradox. 6th edition. Boston, MA: Pearson.
Plagiarism means taking the written ideas of someone else and presenting them in your writing as if they were your ideas, without giving the author credit. Plagiarism (a word which comes from the Latin word for kidnapping) is deceitful and dishonest. Violations that have occurred frequently in the past include not using quotation marks for direct quotes and not giving citations when using someone else's ideas; using long strings of quotations, even when properly attributed, does not constitute a paper of your own.
Plagiarism in written work for this class is unacceptable. The University's Student Conduct Codeclassifies plagiarism as a form of academic dishonesty. Depending on the severity of the plagiarism, punishment can include receiving no credit for the assignment, failing the course and referral for university disciplinary action.
This course aims to improve critical thinking skills. When you evaluate the articles you read for class or for your journal, or when you participate to discussion, read and listen actively (You can use some of the items in this list directly in assessing articles in your journals; item 7 is especially important).
When you complete the course, you should be more skilled in your ability to:
1. Distinguish Fact and Opinion.
A fact is a statement that can be proven to be true. An opinion is a statement of a person's feelings about something. When you read or listen in this course, actively distinguish fact and opinion by asking:
- When someone asserts that something is true, what's the evidence?
2. Recognize Bias and Rhetoric.
What do you think the person wants readers or listeners to think or do? How does the person use words or phrases to accomplish this? Does the author or speaker paint word pictures that are particularly attractive for the things she likes, or that are especially awful for the things that he doesn't like? How do the authors select examples to stir your emotions?
3. Determine Cause and Effect.
Does the person assert that one fact follows as the result of another? (Examples include such statements as "Increased auto exhaust causes global warming," or "Government regulations cause unemployment"). How sweeping are these assertions? What is the evidence for it? How persuasive is this evidence?
4. Compare and contrast different points of view.
5. Determine the accuracy and completeness of the information provided. When you read more than one point of view on an issue, you should think about the following:
- What facts and cause-effect relationships does everyone agree about?
- What facts and cause-effect relationships do authors or speakers disagree about?
- What important facts do some persons raise, while others ignore?
- What sources could be used to determine the accuracy of the information you hear?
6. Recognize poor logic and faulty reasoning. When you read more than one point of view on an issue, you should think about the following logical problems. Note that the examples often include more than one form of poor logic.
a. Incorrect cause-effect relationships ("The Clean Air Act of 1990 preceded the recent economic recession, therefore the CAA caused the recession" [Were other factors much more influential in bringing about the economic downturn? Did the Clean Air Act have any substantial independent effect on the economy in recent years?])
b. Inaccurate or distorted use of statistics ("Environmental laws of the 1970s failed to reduce pollution;" think about whether, for example, population and economic growth offset environmental gains from policy). Think about widely different assumptions and projections of the future; for example, environmentalists may project that the protection of the Northern spotted owl may cause little net loss of jobs in the Pacific Northwest because they assume that such restrictions will benefit fishing, tourism, and other industries; the logging companies and unions may project the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.
c. Faulty analogies or comparisons ("Congress can't balance the federal budget, so how can it clean up the environment?" or "Auto companies have lied about safety, so how can they be trusted on emissions controls?" Such assertions tend to be matters of opinion rather than demonstrable facts).
d. Oversimplifications that ignore important information ("Tougher environmental laws can create jobs in the long run, so the economy will be better off if stricter laws are enacted;" such a statement ignores the number of persons who may be displaced in the short run with a given environmental law).
e. Stereotyping ("all environmentalists are kooks; all conservatives are greedy crooks"). Modifiers such as "all," "never," or "always" often provide a tip off stereotyping).
f. Ignoring the question (when asked if auto emissions cause globalwarming, the person instead talks about the cost of regulation or the potential seriousness of global warming).
g. Faulty generalization (the 1970 Clean Air Act's effort to force automobile companies to drastically reduce emissions failed to cause automobile companies to reach that goal within the original time limit; therefore all environmental legislation is a failure).
7. Develop inferences and draw logical conclusions. Ask yourself:
- What are the person's conclusions?
- Do you agree or disagree with these conclusions?
- What other conclusions could you draw from this information?
- What other information is important to know
before making a judgment
about the value of this person's argument?
Background downloaded from
Last Updated September 16, 2012